This Entrepreneur is Bringing the Style of ‘Actual Kashmiri Meals’ to South India


Cradled within the lofty inexperienced Himalayas, Srinagar is understood for its scenic magnificence, the picturesque Dal Lake, and the breathtaking mountain views. Rising up on this hilly city, Azmat Ali Mir has all the time been fascinated by the enchanting great thing about her homeland and its wealthy tradition.

At a time when her friends wished to turn out to be princesses, Azmat’s childhood fantasy was to turn out to be a journey journalist or personal a caravan meals truck and go across the metropolis serving grilled sizzling canine. As an alternative of watching cartoons, she would spend her day watching meals channels, enriching her data of Kashmiri delights.

However this fantasy acquired misplaced as she grew up. Azmat grew to become a pc science engineer and moved to Bengaluru in 2018.

Quick ahead to 2023, 30-year-old Azmat is now fulfilling her childhood dream with an eatery that gives genuine Kashmiri meals that is still packed all through the week with foodies. We sat down together with her to hint her journey of opening a Kashmiri restaurant in Bengaluru.

Sarposh offers authentic Kashmiri food that remains packed throughout the week with foodies.
Sarposh provides genuine Kashmiri meals that is still packed all through the week with foodies.

A actuality test

Earlier than shifting to Bengaluru, Azmat was married right into a non-Kashmiri household. She immensely missed her dwelling and the whole lot related to it, particularly its native meals and language.

Within the quest to be in contact together with her roots, she began searching for eating places that supplied Kashmiri meals within the metropolis. “I visited a couple of locations that claimed to serve conventional meals however I’d come again very disenchanted. It was nothing near what the true Kashmiri meals was about,” she tells The Higher India.

“A lot of the eating places claimed to serve Wazwan which requires a extremely expert meals preparation model. For those who miss out on one step, it is not going to style the identical. Gushtabae yakhein and ristae are two advanced dishes to cook dinner. On this, meat needs to be pounded on a heavy stone slab utilizing a walnut wooden hammer. It’s a labour-intensive course of. Folks right here use grinders which break the meat and the feel left is that of a kofta slightly than a sausage,” she explains.

“Apart from this, if I speak about Kashmiri pulao, folks right here serve it with pineapples and cherries. Whereas an actual Kashmiri pulao is cooked in a bone marrow inventory that provides it a savoury style. It’s then topped with dry fruits and nuts, not pineapples and cherries! What damage me most was that folks right here didn’t want to make any effort to know the genuine methodology of preparation,” says Azmat.

Set up on a 3,500 square feet area, the eatery imitates an extension of her Srinagar home.
Arrange on a 3,500 sq. toes space, the eatery imitates an extension of her Srinagar dwelling.

When Kashmiris unite exterior of Kashmir

In the meantime, there was no aid to Azmat’s eager for her homeland. So, in 2019, she determined to meet up with her school associates who had been settled within the metropolis. “I created a WhatsApp group however an hour later, 200 folks joined the group. Later, this quantity grew a lot larger than what I anticipated. I ended up internet hosting a ticketed occasion for 1,000 folks,” she provides.

For this, Azmat not solely sourced spices from Kashmir but in addition conventional bands, comedians, singers, poets, and cooks known as Wazas from her wedding ceremony. “It was a large success. It was the primary time Kashmiris acquired collectively exterior Kashmir,” she says with pleasure.

Taking this as a possibility and an try and do her bit in order that her area’s meals is represented in an actual genuine method, Azmat launched Sarposh. The eatery provides a variety of genuine Kashmiri delights from the multi-course meal Wazwan that contains tabak maaz, methi maaz, seekh kabab, rogan josh, gushtabae yakhein, ristae, marchewangan kormeh, to kong kahwae, and extra.

To make sure the meals is ready in a standard method, Azmat has employed 15 skilled Wazas from Kashmir and will get spices like cumin from Gurez, Kashmiri pink chillies from Pulwama, saffron from Pampore, apricots from Ladakh, and walnuts from the houses of her staff members.

Establishing a small Kashmir in Bengaluru

In addition to meals, Azmat tried to provide a homely vibe with Sarposh’s ambiance. Arrange on a 3,500 sq. toes space, the eatery imitates an extension of her Srinagar dwelling. “We’ve got given cosy areas, a carpeted ground seating space, and a lounge space to chill out. One mustn’t really feel that they’re strolling right into a restaurant, however slightly strolling right into a lounge of a Kashmiri dwelling,” she provides.

The eatery has additionally integrated conventional craft gadgets like walnut wooden, papier mache, pashmina, and pottery, into the decor of the area. 

Immediately, her 70-seater eatery stays full of 100% occupancy in a number of rotations. However this feat was not as straightforward.

Trying again to the difficult part of her entrepreneurial journey, Azmat says, “In 2019, I stop my job to dedicate myself to establishing this restaurant. However quickly Article 370 was revoked and my staff acquired caught in Kashmir. I misplaced contact with my staff together with all the cash that I used to kick off the eatery,” she says.

To ensure the food is prepared in a traditional manner, Azmat has employed 15 experienced Wazas from Kashmir.
To make sure the meals is ready in a standard method, Azmat has employed 15 skilled Wazas from Kashmir.

A couple of months later, when Azmat acquired in contact together with her staff, she once more invested hefty quantities to restart the work. “However as quickly as we had been about to announce our launch, the COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdown was introduced. And not using a single day in operation, our place was shut. I wasn’t positive what to do anymore,” she provides.

Heartbroken Azmat went to her dad and mom in Srinagar. “By this time, we had exhausted all our funds. I had accepted my failure and went again dwelling. Nevertheless, my dad and mom inspired me to not hand over due to monetary constraints. I gave myself one other two months and determined that if any individual doesn’t stroll in now then I’ll shut it despite the fact that it could be a really exhausting choice,” she provides.

As quickly as folks adjusted to the brand new regular, Azmat’s place additionally began welcoming diners in massive numbers. “And since then, there was no trying again,” she smiles.

“I’d have by no means in my wildest goals imagined that my life would take this flip. Not all people will get such a possibility. Many individuals get up within the morning with none enthusiasm for his or her work. I’m so grateful that lastly, I’m doing one thing I’m genuinely captivated with,” says Azmat.

Edited by Padmashree Pande. All pictures: Sarposh (Instagram)


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